Colon Cancer (Colorectal Cancer)

  • Medical Author:
    Francis W. Nugent, MD

    Dr. F.W. Nugent is a medical oncologist specializing in gastrointestinal cancers with a special interest in pancreatic cancer. Dr. Nugent graduated from Middlebury College with a bachelors degree in religion before graduating from Albany Medical College. He presently serves as vice-chairman of medical oncology at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Massachusetts.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Quick GuideColon Cancer: Symptoms, Signs, Screening, Stages

Colon Cancer: Symptoms, Signs, Screening, Stages

What is the prognosis for patients with colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancers are typically slow-growing cancers that take years to develop. Because they grow most often in a step-wise manner, screening can greatly reduce the likelihood of death associated with the disease. Whether with virtual colonoscopy or newer screening techniques, the future must focus first and foremost on better, more comprehensive screening programs that find polyps and early cancers before they become life-threatening. The public also must be educated on the value of screening programs.

For those living with cancer, intensive research is ongoing to better understand cancer biology and genetics so that specific approaches can be developed to attack specific types of cancers and, more importantly, specific individuals' cancers. Each person living with cancer has a disease with a unique biology and genetic code and the secret to better treatments involves unlocking that code. Cancer is very complex and scientists are just beginning to unravel its secrets. Progress is frustratingly slow for those battling the disease. With each passing year, however, our understanding increases and treatments become more refined. If you or your family member is living with colorectal cancer, speak with your doctor about ways you can participate in research through clinical trials to help increase our knowledge and improve our therapies for this difficult disease.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/23/2016

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